Nicaragua Women’s Social Movement

Built on my initial phase of research in Nicaragua, this collaborative project, brings together social science and grass roots community advocacy with a focus on documenting how the women’s movement in Nicaragua profoundly challenges systemized gender inequities. Although the women’s movement in Nicaragua is often linked to the political struggle of the Sandinista Revolution, by the 1990’s the movement, Movimiento Autonomó de Mujeres (MAM), began a process of autonomy from political parties and the state, defining themselves as a social movement based on a multitude of intersecting rights, such as gender-based violence, sexual rights, and the right to own property. In partnership with MAM, solidarity activist Carlos Arenas, and an award-winning social documentarian, I examined the women’s social movement in Nicaragua through both oral history interviews and film. Building on a history of using narrative inquiry to contribute to social change. I used testimonio, or a type of oral history that is an explicitly political narrative that describes and resists oppression. Interviews with key women leaders who have been pivotal in transforming social change are archived with the Global Feminisms Project through the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWG) at the University of Michigan.  In addition, I have begun working on a book manuscript that documents the role of women’s activism in various sectors and roles — from former guerilla commanders to feminist journalists and labor organizers — in the struggle for gendered justice in Nicaragua. By broadening the scope of the investigation to including documentary data, social psychologists can engage alternate forms of scholarship and fieldwork that allow scholarship and people’s lives to speak more directly with each other.  This project was funded by the IRWG and the UC Global Health Initiative Women’s Health and Empowerment Center of Expertise.

  • Grabe, S. (book manuscript under review). To be under fire: The psychology of resistance among the compares in the women’s autonomous movement of Nicaragua.
  • Grabe, S.  & Dutt, A. (2015). Counter narratives, the psychology of liberation, and the evolution of a women’s social movement in Nicaragua. Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. 21(1), 89-105.
  • Dutt, A., & Grabe, S. (2014). Lifetime activism, marginality, and psychology: Narratives of lifelong feminist activists committed to social change.  Qualitative Psychology, 2, 107-122.
  • Grabe, S. (2014). Invited chapter. Rural feminism and revolution in Nicaragua.  Voices of the compañeras. In J. Shayne (Ed.). Taking Risks: Feminist Stories of Social Justice Research in the Americas (pp. 279-308). SUNY Press.
Posted in Research Projects.